5 Myths Sabotaging Your Diet

Sep 12 2018
Question@2x Hi Hungry Girl,

I’ve always been told to order salad as my meal when I’m trying to lose weight, but I recently heard that can actually be a bad strategy. Is that true? What other diet advice might be steering me wrong?

Salad Skeptic
Answer@2x Hi Salad Skeptic,

Hitting your health goals can be tricky, especially when there are sneaky misconceptions to trip you up. Here are a few diet myths to watch out for!

"Skipping breakfast is harmless and a smart way to cut calories."

On the contrary: Studies have found that people who eat a smart breakfast daily are less likely to become obese. Your body functions more effectively when it's well fueled, so you'll actually burn more calories throughout the day if you feed it in the morning. Plus, you're more likely to make poor food decisions if you let yourself get too hungry. So start your day with a light healthy breakfast: These slow-cooker recipes can be made while you sleep, and these overnight oats are great on the go. Not hungry first thing in the a.m.? Keep a piece of fruit and protein bar handy for a mid-morning meal.

"Eating gluten-free/vegan/insert-buzzword-here foods will help with weight loss."

The simple fact is that these trends are not synonymous with weight loss. They can be loaded with calories and fat. Gluten-free foods are sometimes just as carby as their gluten-containing counterparts, and vegan goods may be full of fatty calories. There's absolutely nothing wrong with sticking to foods that work for your personal needs and lifestyle, but some choices are better than others. That's why it's so important to check the nutritional info before you order or buy. Pay special attention to calories, serving size, and servings per container!

"On workout days, I can let loose and indulge at meal time, and it'll all balance out."

That spin class may have promised to burn 800 calories, but don't treat yourself to fettuccine Alfredo and cheesecake just yet. It's common to overestimate the number of calories we've burned -- everyone burns calories at a different rate -- and you could unintentionally negate your hard work. Even if your estimates are spot on, do you really want to cancel them out entirely? If you’re aiming for weight loss, you still need to take in fewer calories than you burn. Either way, you’re better off just increasing your portion sizes to replenish yourself, not reaching for junk food or totally overdoing it. Check out these ideas for what to eat before and after a workout.

"As long as I stick to a clean diet of all-natural whole foods, I don't need to worry about calories."

If weight management is a priority for you, then yeah, you're going to want to keep tabs on your calorie intake. YES, eating whole natural foods is good for you. But it's completely possible to consume way more calories than you burn in a day by eating these foods. Plenty of natural foods are calorie dense -- think avocados, nuts, grains -- meaning a small portion has a large calorie count. Eat too much of those, and you could pack on the pounds. So eat the good stuff, but watch the portions!

"I'll order a salad for dinner to save calories for dessert."

They may seem like smart choices, but restaurant salads often pack WAY more calories than you think. So if you're blindly assuming that giant Cobb salad is a better option than a lean petite filet and a side of veggies, you might want to spend some time with our restaurant hacks. The salad dressing alone often contains hundreds of calories! And when it comes to dessert, treat yourself... but split one with your dining companions. Studies have found we enjoy the last bite the most anyway!

Chew on this:

Happy September 12th, a.k.a. National Day of Encouragement and National Chocolate Milkshake Day. Give your pal a morale boost AND an Oreo Frappe

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